Testing Abuse

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tests don's make a teacher

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to the article, ‘Tests can ID effective teachers’ http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/08/local/la-me-0109-gates-teacher-20130109 .  The author obviously did not read the cited report. It says nothing of the kind. Beyond this deceptive title, the content of the report by the Gates Foundation totally ignores the fact that the test scores cited are a composite of individual student scores. Individual scores are invalid because there is no evidence that students’ answers are substantiated by multiple sources of evidence. Ordinary classroom evaluations are determined by many diverse student assessments-presentations, reports, projects, essays, oral answers and numerous quizzes and the like.

Guessing on these standardized tests is rampant; students need not provide any justification for their answers-just mark a bubble-and in some cases are told which letter to guess at for that day.  There is no evidence that they really understand what they marked on the test. The physical, emotional and psychological state of the student can greatly influence them before and during the testing that occurs just once each year. The learning styles of many students will directly conflict with this method of gathering information.

To propose that tests can ID effective teachers is not only untrue it is also unjust.

On Susan Ohanian's website with her comment: